Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Books I Read in February

Wow, posting around here has been few and far between lately. I blame it on the baby, who has proven to be a champion napper during the day when her brothers are awake, and a champion fuss-bucket in the evenings when they are asleep. Meaning that for the past month or so, I have had approximately 0 minutes awake without a needy child demanding my attention (and far too few minutes asleep before being woken by needy children). This has put a serious cramp on all those things I like to do while children are asleep, like blogging, because it is just so hard to focus with whining and interruptions and colicky crying and whatnot.

There is hope for the future, though, as the Little Miss chose to mark the eve of her two month anniversary by sleeping from 9 PM to 3 AM! Progress!

While I'm not getting around to writing much, I'm still very much enjoying my ample reading time in the nursing chair, and blew through another eight books this month. Let's review!

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

This was Amy's book recommend from our November Book Blab, and since I've been in the mood (or sleep deprived state) for lighter reading fare, I was happy to pick this one up. It was very engaging, I enjoyed learning about this fairy-tale I was otherwise unfamiliar with. But there were a few holes in the plot that bothered me, or things that felt like they were going to be more significant early on and then didn't really end up being as important as I thought (like the whole thing with her name...). Anyway, still a recommend for anyone who enjoys fun middle-grade fairy-tale retellings.

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

This book felt like it was going to be right up my alley: circuses, magic, the death of beloved grandfathers... okay, not actually that last one. But still, I was not disappointed. This book was completely lovely, one of my favorite middle-grade reads of late. I liked the character of Jenny and her friendship with Micah, I loved the exploration of the relationship between faith and magic, and I loved Micah's relationship with his grandfather. It was a beautiful little story.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

So on Goodreads, I gave this book five stars. It probably doesn't deserve that high of a rating. It probably really isn't more than 4 stars at best. But I was just so surprised and delighted by this book that I couldn't help myself. I didn't know what I was getting into with this one. I guess I expected a more traditional historical fiction book that stays relatively true to historical facts while fleshing out the characters involved. This was so much more! I would describe this as an alternate history fantasy romance. It was hilariously funny with a lovely romance and a happy ending (which, if you actually know Lady Jane's story, is a complete rewrite of history). If I'd finished this one in time for our Book Blab on romance, I wouldn't have shut up about it. There were a few historical inaccuracies that bothered me (and putting Gifford Dudley up as the real Shakespeare was a bit over the top, even for a fantasy rewrite of British history), but otherwise this one is simply perfect (and decently clean, too!).

The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie McKeehan

I have terrible penmanship. I can't draw. I have no time for new hobbies. So why did I pick this book up? Who knows, other than that I do have a chalkboard on my wall and I was somewhat curious about how there could honestly be enough material to fill a whole book on chalk lettering. In general, this was a very helpful book. Her tips and tricks were ingenious, and I came away feeling like I could be a chalk letter artist too! (Ha, ha.) Even if I don't start producing prints and set up my own Etsy shop, I'm still inspired enough to try some of her techniques. (Besides, this kind of thing is so trendy right now.)

Demelza by Winston Graham

My reading of the Poldark series continues with Book 2. I actually got a bit bored in this one, as the miniseries really follows the book quite closely, but I made it to the end and decided I enjoyed the writing enough to continue on...

Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham

Like I said, I haven't seen the second season yet, so finally on to fresh material! This story is just one step up from a soap opera as far as drama is concerned, but I guess that's what keeps me reading (and what makes it such great television fodder). Will I watch the second season? Only after reading the books first (I'm assuming the second season covers books 3 and 4, considering the first season covered two books).  Will I finish all twelve books in the series? I can't say, but I'm addicted enough that I've got the next one on hold.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

This was another recommend from Amy (thanks, Amy!), and it's one I never would've picked up on my own, but I'm glad I did. This is a middle grade/YA graphic novel memoir, based on the author's own experience with friends, identity, and orthodontia in middle school and high school. (Her story was actually eerily similar to my BIL Kyle, who also lost a tooth in high school and had a retainer with a fake tooth for a while.)  Some parts of this story were painfully awkward and even more painfully relatable. Despite the awkwardness, it really was a sweet coming-of-age story. I really enjoy graphic novels when I read them, so I don't know why I don't read more. I'm definitely planning to read more by this author.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Okay guys, here's the one audio book I've been able to finish so far this year. For whatever reason, print books (and actually ebooks) are so much easier to consume while nursing than audio books are right now. Also, I'm not sure audio is the best way to consume this book. It follows the story-lines of several different characters, with plenty of tangents for historical and social context, and I found myself lost and confused for the first half before I finally got things sorted out (the sleep deprivation didn't help). That being said, I still found this quite fascinating. These women are incredibly inspiring, and I highly recommend the book. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm not sure I feel compelled to (there's no way it can cover all the detail and nuance the book does), but if you've seen it let me know if it's worth my time. The book certainly is worth yours.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) Little Miss is finally starting to show signs of speeding up her feedings, so my reading time might start dipping. But man, I've sure enjoyed all this dedicated reading time. It almost makes up for everything else I hate about nursing (the engorgement, the hunger, the two cases of mastitis I've had already, being a slave to the schedule, the continued wardrobe battles... I'll stop there).

Anyway, read any of these books? Thoughts? I'd love to hear them?


  1. My friend and her husband just saw Hidden Figures on a cinema date last week and she rang me up raving about it and made me promise to go see it. She said both her and husband liked it, so hopefully my husband will he's more a action movie guy.

  2. I thought the movie version of Hidden Figures was fabulous! The book is on my TBR list!

    1. Okay, we'll certainly watch it if we ever get the chance!